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Sampie Smith says he did nothing wrong
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Hinesville mayoral candidate and Liberty County records archivist Sampie Smith was involved in an incident in which a man claims Smith was holding a handgun down by his side.
Smith denies doing anything wrong, but has not directly answered whether he had a gun during the confrontation.
According to an incident report at the Hinesville Police Department, Robert Michael Waltz told officers that on June 21, while he was performing community service outside the county records building, Smith approached him and began yelling at him, all while allegedly holding a gun at his side.
The report says Waltz had asked one of the female employees at the records office if he could use the restroom. She told him he was not allowed in the building and he went back to work. That is when Waltz says Smith drove into the parking lot, got out of the vehicle and approached him.
The report says Smith stepped toward Waltz and asked him in a commanding voice, “Do not interfere with my staff, is that clear?”
“He was yelling at me and I asked him why do you have a pistol? He didn’t answer me he just continued to yell at me, so I took a step toward him and asked him again why he had a pistol, then he raised it slightly off his hip,” Waltz said during a phone conversation.
At that point Waltz said he turned away to avoid further confrontation.
Waltz described the handgun as black and appearing to be a semi-automatic.
Waltz clearly states that Smith never pointed the gun at him and said he does not want to pursue charges against Smith.
Waltz said he filed a police report because there is a negative history between Smith and himself. Waltz explained that he lives near Smith and that someone burglarized Smith’s house in October. Waltz believes Smith suspects he did it. Since then there has been tension between them.
Waltz admits he did some time for a felony credit card fraud charge, which is why he is now on probation and doing community service. But he denies burglarizing Smith’s house.
The incident report says Smith noticed that Waltz was working on the property so he went inside and advised his employees to secure their vehicles and then left the building to run errands. Shortly after leaving, he received a call from one of his employees stating that Waltz had asked to use the restroom. Smith then reports that he came back to the building and confronted Waltz, asking him not to interfere with his employees.
According to the report Smith stated that Waltz looked puzzled so he repeated his question and Waltz replied, “Why have you got that pistol?”
Smith stated he replied by saying, “My question requires a yes or no, “ at which Smith said that Waltz took a step toward him and Smith said, “I didn’t ask you to step up, I asked you to answer up.”
When questioned by police whether he had a gun during the altercation Smith continually replied “I don’t know why he would think that.”
Waltz believes that Smith took the gun out of his personal vehicle but then placed it in a county owned van before police arrived on the scene. Smith admitted to police that he owns a gun but does not transport it to and from work. He added that he was well aware of the Georgia statutes pertaining to gun laws.
The Coastal Courier waited for Smith to return from a trip to address the allegations against him, he offered us some information but only gave only one quote: “I did nothing illegal, this is a bunch of poppycock.”
In a brief statement Barry Wilkes, clerk of the superior courts and a member of the Records Board said neither he nor other members of the board have received any evidence that would support the allegations against Smith.
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